A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Detour to Gervais, Oregon

Mother's Day is over. I hope you had a most wonderful Mother's Day with your family! I had the marvelous opportunity to spend Saturday, the day before Mother's Day in Gervais, Oregon (outside of Salem) at a very old church, where Madame Dorion is buried. By the way, Gervais is pronounced "Jervis" by the locals.

St. Louis Church, Gervais Oregon
Memorial Stone lower left of picture
Marie Dorion died 5 September 1850 at age 64* and was buried inside the St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in French Prairie (the church is just outside the small town of Gervais today). She was buried under the steeple of the log church, and when the church burned to the ground years later, she was more or less forgotten. When the records were found, and translated from French to English several years after that they realized they didn't know, exactly where in the ground she was buried.

To be buried IN the church, rather than in the churchyard outside, is a singular honor normally reserved for Priests, Nuns, and Very Special People. The latter takes a special dispensation. Marie was known to be a most kind and generous woman, giving help as she was able to those in need, especially the new immigrants who lacked so many of even the basic supplies. She was known to make excellent moccasins, and gave many to the often shoeless immigrants. From what I learned of her, if she had it and you needed it, it was yours. My big question is, was Marie an Oblate Nun? That is a possibility, and would have given her entree to burial inside the church.

Entry court to church, showing stone in lower left
The new church, built in 1880, was built over the site of the old church, or at least as close as they could tell. This is the oldest wooden church in the archdiocese and is still used on a regular basis. It is located at the corner of St. Louis Road and Manning Road, and if you're ever in the area, and like old churches and history, check it out!

The Memorial Stone
The Champoeg Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) spent something like three years, and considerable time and, I'm sure, dollars, having a monument made for Madame Dorion. Saturday was the marker dedication, and Jane Kirkpatrick, who wrote a glowing endorsement for my book Madame Dorion: Her Journey to the Oregon Country invited me to come. When she told the ladies at the DAR I would be one of her guests, and that I, too, had written about Marie, they immediately asked her to ask me to bring books, if I had any. I did, and I did. And I sold 35 of them. (Can you see my happy, happy face?)

Jane and I shared a table loaded with her trilogy of Marie Dorion, the Tender Ties Historical SeriesA Name of Her Own (#1), Every Fixed Star (#2), and Hold Tight the Thread (#3). A Name of Her Own and my book cover the same time in Marie's life, but are told in very different ways. Jane and her husband Jerry, who sat between us, were very generous in their praise of my book, and sold many copies for me;-)

Jane Kirkpatrick, the stone, and me
The last book I sold was to a "3rd Great Granddaughter of Marie Dorion" who was very excited to get the book, and promised me she would read it soon, and let me know what she thought of it. Jennifer (the Granddaughter) is a genealogist and her 2d Great Grandmother was Marguerite Venier, Marie's first daughter, born in the Okanogan country.

The ladies of the DAR were likewise generous, and somewhat apologetic because they did not know either my book, or me, even existed until so late, or they would have included me in the program. I was just delighted to be included at all! What a marvelous day – Celebrating one of the greatest pioneer mothers of all time!

Had I known how dark my glasses were (they are Transitions
I would have removed them)
*The actual date of birth for Marie is not known. Most records I've read give it as c. 1786, but I have read as late as 1790. For my book, I used 1786.

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